Current diagnostic methods for evaluating the functionality of the lymphatic vascular system usually do not provide quantitative data and suffer from many limitations including high costs, complexity, and the need to perform them in hospital settings. In this work, we present a quantitative, simple outpatient technology named LymphMonitor to quantitatively assess lymphatic function. This method is based on the painless injection of the lymphatic-specific near-infrared fluorescent tracer indocyanine green complexed with human serum albumin, using MicronJet600TM microneedles, and monitoring the disappearance of the fluorescence signal at the injection site over time using a portable detection device named LymphMeter. This technology was investigated in 10 patients with unilateral leg or arm lymphedema. After injection of a tracer solution into each limb, the signal was measured over 3 h and the area under the normalized clearance curve was calculated to quantify the lymphatic function. A statistically significant difference in lymphatic clearance in the healthy versus the lymphedema extremities was found, based on the obtained area under curves of the normalized clearance curves. This study provides the first evidence that the LymphMonitor technology has the potential to diagnose and monitor the lymphatic function in patients.
Keywords: indocyanine green; lymphatic function monitoring; lymphatic system; lymphedema; lymphography; mobile health.